Category Archives: World Missions

Philippines 2014: Video

I-61 Ministries just released a cool video highlighting the work of some good friends of mine, Chris and Cathee Mapes, who are working with the tribal people of Kalinga Province, Philippines. The Mapes are not only helping strengthen the local church, they are also teaching people to become “self-sustaining by lowering the farming costs via organic fertilizers, livestock raising, and creating a community co-op as well as conduct health, sanitation and nutrition teachings.”

Check out their FB page and website.

 

Celebrate Jesus’ Birthday by Fighting Ebola and Saving Lives!

Please, please watch this quick 3-minute video about the Vineyard’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Our brothers and sisters need out help and what better way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday than to help the dieing, the poor and the hungry…

Watch the video, read about what is happening, and then donate funds to help the fight to save lives. Together we can be the hands and feed of Jesus to change the world for His glory.

 

Time To Do Something

I know I have talked about i-61 Ministries before…but I just can’t stop sharing their videos and articles as I think they are on the right track. As Tri says in the below video, it is easy to get overwhelmed when looking at the state of the world today – poverty, environmental decline, spiritual decay, etc., and etc…

However we have to start somewhere doing something.

Just like Matthew West states in his song “Do Something”:

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

 

So, what are you going to?

A Whirlwind Week

This past week has been a flurry of meetings, emails, phone calls and reports. With the weekend at hand, I’m looking forward to some downtime hanging out with the family and relaxing… granted, Sunday is just around the corner, meaning that I better figure out what shape this week’s sermon is going to take…

In the meantime, I wanted to post some pictures of my recent trip last weekend to New Jersey and Manhattan. While the goal and focus of the trip was to discuss ways to help churches engage in cross-cultural church planting (both domestically and international), my host, Craig Simonian, was kind enough to take me into Manhattan for a trip of a life time.

time square
Time Square with Craig
The famous Blue M&M of Robbie Dawkins fame (if you have never heard the story, read his book)
The famous Blue M&M of Robby Dawkins fame (if you have never heard the story, read his book)
Walking into Center Park with Craig
Walking into Center Park with Craig
rockefeller center
Rockefeller Center
Vineyard Community Church in Morris Plains, NJ
Vineyard Community Church in Morris Plains, NJ
IMAG0841
Awesome hang out space complete with coffee and bagels!
IMAG0849
Garry Ingraham, Executive Director at Love & Truth Network, delivered a great sermon on how we are made in the image of God for more than simply surviving. Two teenage gals decided to follow Jesus during the ministry time – after being prayed for by a few of their Jesus-freak peers.

A Short History of Student Missions

Stumbled upon an AWESOME video today that gives a great overview of the history of student missions in the USA. At 5.46 minutes, it is short – but, wow, it hits all the top level points – including highlighting the fact that the first USA missionary wasn’t Adoniram Judson as commonly believed. That honor goes to George Lisle, a freed African American slave who went to Jamaica in 1782, 30-years before the Judsons would head to Burma.

Like I said, short view, great stuff. 😀

SpiritTribe: Nicaragua Mission Intensive

mission intensive picNow that the holidays are over it is time to start looking forward toward the SpiritTribe Mission Intensives. These are domestic and international trips that go beyond simply going somewhere ‘exotic’ and marking a check box on your bucket list.

These are trips that are designed to expose, train and tweak people for the Kingdom of God. They are trips for those who are tired of the same old life, tired of sitting in a church pew, tired of wondering where God is in the midst of injustice – these are trips for those who are willing to sell everything they have and join Jesus in changing the world.

While there are four such trips to different places, I am personally leading one of them – a two week intensive to Nicaragua, Central America. For this trip, we will be partnering with Vineyard Boise’s i-61 Ministries in learning about and then doing something about the seven areas of world crises:

  1. Spiritual Confusion
  2. Undeveloped Leadership
  3. Educational Inequalities
  4. Environmental Decline
  5. World Hunger
  6. Poor Health & Disease
  7. Human Injustice

Each morning of the intensive the team will gather together to learn about one of these seven areas before taking to the streets that afternoon to experience the issue firsthand. For example, if the issue is “world hunger”, we might get transported to the La Chureca dump site, one of the worst dumps in Central America, where we would help prepare food and feed the children who reside there. If the issue is “spiritual deadness”, we might be given the opportunity to serve into a community of the local Vineyard churches in the area.

The goal of all this, as mentioned previous, it to train, equip and tweak people into joining with Jesus in changing the world. Our heart is that after this mission intensive each team member will go back to their local community/church and start doing the stuff there – after all, Jesus is already at work everywhere, we just have to open our eyes and start walking with Him.

The Details
  • Trip Dates: June 16-30, 2014
  • Team size: 14 members max
  • Preferred age of team member: 18 to 30~ years
  • Cost: $975 USD per person (based upon a 14 member team, if smaller the cost with change)
  • Price included food, lodging, and transportation in Nicaragua. Does NOT include plane tickets to Nicaragua as this will vary according to where each team member is located.
  • 10% of cost is due on March 16th with the remainder due on April 16th
Application Process
  • Everyone interested in going should either contact me directly or go to the SpiritTribe’s Nicaragua Mission Intensive website and fill out the content form located there.
  • Note that all applications for this trip will need to be returned to me by February 10th with chosen team members notified on or before February 24th

Africa: Christian Long Before Europe

history of the church in africa jonathan hildebrandtOne of the best classes I took during my undergrad years was a class on the history of Christian in Africa taught by Jonathan Hildebrandt (who also wrote a book on the subject). The best part was that the class didn’t start in the modern era, where a lot of folks and books start, but in the first-century with the Twelve Apostles and those who followed in their footsteps.  While the full history is too long to trace here, it is noteworthy to mention that the Gospel of the Kingdom spread throughout Africa very early on – there were even large nations deep within Africa continent who declared Christian as the national religion long before the Roman Empire did so.  (Makuria is one such nation which has recently come into the news due to a recently discovered burial crypt.)

Below is a video that highlights an aspect of Christian in Ethiopia, one of the very, very few African nations to successfully resist European colonialism. However before you watch the video, here are some cool tit bits about the history of Christian in Africa. I would also recommend reading Ramon Mayo’s blog series on “Christianity is Not the White Man’s Religion” where he not only explores the spread of Christian into Africa, Syria and other non-European areas. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6)

  • Acts 8 tells the famous story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. What folks may not know is that this Eunuch went back to Ethiopia and started telling everyone there about Jesus – effectively making him the first missionary to cross international boundaries.

“This man (Simeon Bachos the Eunuch) was also sent into the regions of Ethiopia, to preach what he had himself believed, that there was one God preached by the prophets, but that the Son of this (God) had already made (His) appearance in human flesh, and had been led as a sheep to the slaughter; and all the other statements which the prophets made regarding Him.” – St. Irenaeus of Lyons in his book Against the Heresies (180 AD).

  • One of the leaders of the church at Antioch who sent out Barnabas and Paul was a gentlemen named Simeon who was called Niger (Acts 13:1). The word “Niger” means black and was used in first century to identity those of dark complexion and/or African descent. This means, then, that one of the leaders of the most successful churches in history was a African.
  • Church tradition states that at least two of the Twelve Apostles traveled and preached in Africa: Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collection (who also wrote the Book of Matthew in the Bible). Simon was said to have traveled throughout northern back of Africa before going to Britain. Matthew, on the other hand, went through Egypt to Ethiopia – possibly to visit Simeon Bachos the Eunuch?
  • John Mark, the author of the Book of Mark in the Bible and a traveling companion of St. Paul, is credited with starting the church in Alexandria, Egypt, in 42 A.D. This church went on to become one of the most powerful churches in the Roman Empire. Eventually this church would become what is now known as the Coptic Orthodox Church.
  • The first Christian university was founded in Alexandria, Egypt, by either John Mark or one of his successors, it is not known for sure. What is known is that Athenagoras is recorded as the dean of the Catechetical School of Alexandria in 176 A.D. Later on the school would launch the career of Origen (185-254 AD), who is considered by many as the Father of Theology.
  • Another famous Christian theologian is St. Augustine (354-430 AD). While folks today quote his books and writings, what they probably don’t know is that Augustine was a Berber African. The Berber people were (and are) an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa west of the Nile Valley. In other words, St. Augustine was a dark skinned African who lived, worked, and died in present-day Algeria long before white man of Europe even heard about Jesus.

I could go on, but I’m out of time… it is enough to say that Christian was not, and has never been, a white-man’s religion (Jesus, after all, was a Jewish Middle-Eastern man!). As St. John wrote in Revelation 7:9, people of “every nation and all tribes” will and are worshiping the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Blessings.

Vineyard Bantayan Relief Mission

typhoon HaiyanBelow is an update from the Vineyard Cebu regarding their prayer concerns regarding their outreach to northern Cebu island communities and Bantayan island, which was severely hit by the super typhoon. Be sure to check out their video at the very bottom of this post. If anyone wants to partner with them directly, let me know and I will connect you.

Additionally, Vineyard USA is working with Convoy of Hope to care for the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Convoy of Hope has shipping containers of food and supplies en route to the Philippines, to be followed by containers of hygiene kits, canned goods and fruit pouches. 100 water filtration units will arrive in country with their second relief team. Your financial support is vital to their response. To assist with a donation, please click here.

Letter from the Vineyard Cebu:

Grateful for:

  1. God’s love, mercy & faithfulness – thus far, none of the family members/relatives from the Team has suffered loss of life. Everyone is alive!
  2. God’s provision & generosity & His people’s care & generosity as well. There has been an outpouring of provision in every way, financially many have shared as well. We are thankful that we can move/act quickly & be able to bring these to families.
  3. His promises & Word- ever since these tragedies- earthquake, then tornado (Mandaue City, but near us), & super typhoon there has been much sadness- but we have been really receiving beautiful promises from His word, & beautiful prophecies for the Filipinos & the islands.
  4. The children are doing well. And it is good in spite of the circumstances, they are blossoming in school & at home.
  5. Trips to Indonesia & also in Manila have been very good- His work is deep & wonderful- both an honour & privilege.

  Continue reading Vineyard Bantayan Relief Mission

Please pray for the Vineyard family on Bohol island

The recent earthquake in central Philippines (magnitude 7.2) seriously damaged two Vineyard church buildings on Bohol (in the towns of Inabangga and and Sikatuna). Another church building sustained a large crack (in the town of Dimiao). Many of Vineyard church members in Inabangga and Buenavista are camping out in the town square or “plaza” until it is safe to return to their houses and begin repairs. Much of Bohol island does not have electricity and because of damaged roads and bridges travel by land is not easy from one town to another.

Also, the Arms of Love Children’s Home just outside Tagbilaran Bohol has sustained some damage. Because of this the children have had to vacate the Home until the damage can be properly assessed.

Please pray for our Vineyard family as well as all the people and communities that have been significantly affected by the recent earthquake.

bohol-7.1-earthquake-map

Cassie Wallace, Sign Language Consultant-in-Training with Wycliffe Bible Translators

cassie wallace 2 We are pleased to announce that Cassie Wallace will be speaking at the Payette River Vineyard this coming Sunday, April 21st, at 10:30 AM. Cassie is a young lady from Boise, Idaho, who is getting ready to go to Manila, Philippines, as a Sign Language Consultant-in-Training with Wycliffe Bible Translators. She will be joined by special guest worship leader Pat Dansereau.

The Deaf

The Deaf are the least reached people group in the world. Globally, less than 2% know Christ. The Gospel that we have has been primarily kept in the hearing world, a world the Deaf cannot access through the spoken word or through print. Why? Among the Deaf, 85% cannot read…At all. The 15% who can read normally only attain a 3rd or 4th grade reading level. Further, the sign languages they use are not just signed versions of the local spoken languages. These are independent languages with different grammars, vocabularies and idioms, which means the Deaf who can read are reading in a second language.

Bible Translation

The Good News of Christ in the heart languages of individuals has the greatest ability to be understood and to touch hearts. However, about 200 million people representing nearly 2000 languages do not have access to any scripture in their heart language (translation statistics). Over 260 of those languages are sign languages, which are the heart languages of the Deaf. Not a single sign language has a complete Bible translation. Only one, American Sign Language, even has a New Testament. Wycliffe Bible Translators’ mission is to see the scriptures accessible to all people in the language of their heart. Their vision for seeing this accomplished is called Vision 2025: to see a Bible translation in progress in every language still needing one by 2025 – including sign languages.

Villagers use sign language to communicate with each other at Dadhkai Village
Why Asia

At a conservative estimate, 20 million people in Asia are Deaf. However, based on birthrates, the deaf population is likely 40 million or higher.

When

Cassie Wallace will be leaving for the Philippines on May 5th, 2013 where she will be interning with four other Wycliffe members. After completing some training, Cassie will be reassigned to another location to be a living, breathing, signing resource for Deaf mother tongue translators.

Prior to this, her initial assignment with Wycliffe Bible Translators  is called partnership development – putting together a team of prayer and financial partners. She currently has $430 remaining in monthly partnership before Wycliffe releases her to the field.  If you would like to join her team, please visit Cassie’s partnership page or contact Pastor Josh for more information.

 

why sign languages b